Playing With A Real Tow Truck

Geek Culture

We went to Toronto this weekend, with a tall ship cruise booked in the Toronto harbor. I was looking forward to using that experience as a GeekDad post, but I think that one can wait for a few days; it was trumped by what happened on the way home.

We were on highway 401, traveling at approximately 120 km/h (that would be about 75 mph) when one of our minivan’s rear tires blew out. I was able to maintain control and get the vehicle safely onto the median (albeit the median adjacent to the fast lane, but one can’t be picky in these situations). Needless to say, that was an unpleasant experience, but thanks to the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) and the towing company, everything ended reasonably well.

What turned this into a GeekDad post, though, was Stan, the tow truck driver. An extremely safety-conscious guy (down to ensuring the kids’ booster seats were correctly installed in his truck), he was also good enough to turn off the meter and drive into a nearby city so the kids could get a milkshake at Dairy Queen. And when we arrived at my mechanic’s shop later that night, Stan let the kids take turns playing with the tow truck’s hydraulic controls, so they got to experiment with the various levers, raising and lowering the boom. He had his hand on an over-ride mind you, but still- it was the real thing, complete with the sounds of servos, motor noise and motion. Beats any Tonka truck equivalent. In hindsight, I kind of wish I’d taken the opportunity to play a bit too…

Police cruisers parked behind and beside you, riding in a tow truck, then getting to operate the tow truck’s lift controls: it’s not every day they get to do something like that. When we finally arrived home, they declared it the “best day ever”- and I don’t think they were talking about the boat cruise.


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